India: CCI To Probe ABB India For Unfair Business Ways

Recently, the Competition Commission of India (hereinafter referred as 'Commission'), in the case of InPhase Power Technologies Private Limited V. ABB India Ltd. ruled in favor of the informant, ordering the Director General to conduct an investigation on the matter and submit its report within 60 days from the date of receipt of the order.

Brief Background

The Informant deals in designing, developing and manufacturing of Power Quality and Power Conversion products indigenously in India; and supplies them to various industries.

The Opposite Party is a public listed company and a subsidiary of Switzerland based ABB Group, engaged in the business of manufacturing of electrical equipment like switch gears, drives, automation, etc. It also manufactures dynamic reactive power compensators and harmonic filters which are Power Quality and Power Conversion products.

The Informant has developed a Static Synchronous Compensator (STATCOM) named as IPC-150 SCOM, which is claimed to be more advanced than the product of the Opposite Party in terms of technology and features. The Informant has applied for a patent of this product and the patent application bearing no. 4055/CHE/2015 dated August 5, 2015 in that regard is pending.

The Opposite Party has developed two static synchronous compensators (hereinafter referred as STATCOMs) namely STATCON and PQC STATCON. The Opposite Party have applied for a patent over PQC STATCON and the application in that regard is currently pending before the patent authorities.

The Informant filed a complaint to Competition Commission of India, stating that the Opposite Party is abusing its dominant position, in the relevant market, to restrain the sale of Informant's product.

Contentions of the Informant

  • Positive response of the consumers towards the product of the Informant prompted the Opposite Party to find ways to suppress the technological innovation/development and competition posed by the product of the Informant.
  • The Opposite Party abused its dominant position by instituting civil and criminal litigation with mala fide intention to stop the informant from doing business. The Opposite Party has filed the patent infringement case against the Informant and has obtained an ex- party ad interim injunction order, dated July 25, 2015. The said order is passed by the Court of the City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru. The said order has put the Informant on the verge of bankruptcy as it is not able to do business in the relevant product. Vide another order dated February 20, 2016, the City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru has made the ad interim injunction absolute.
  • The relevant market in the present matter is 'manufacture and sale of Power Quality Compensators with IGBT technology for low voltage i.e. below 1000V in India'. As per the Research Report of Ken Research (2015) titled "India: Reactive Power Compensation Market Outlook to 2020", the Opposite Party is dominant in the relevant market with 32% market share which is almost double the next player i.e. Alstom which commands 18% market share.

    Due to wide product portfolio of the Opposite Party, the consumers are totally dependent on it for procuring several products other than power quality products. The Opposite Party have taken undue advantage of this dependency of the consumers, by forcing them to purchase its power quality products i.e. PQC STATCON and not to deal with the Informant.
  • The Opposite Party has distributed some letters and other written materials apart from making personal calls to the customers and suppliers stating that the Informant is an illegal and sham company against which legal proceedings are being initiated. To support this contention, Informant has made the submissions on February 17, 2016 and March 17, 2016 giving copies of declarations made by a consumer and a distributor of the Opposite Party.
  • The Informant has cited the previous Judgement of the Commission in Case no. 105 of 20131 and pointed that abusing judicial process to restrict competition could be a subject matter of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 (hereinafter referred as Act). The Informant also argued that the case relating to the patent infringement, which is pending before the City Civil and Sessions Judge, does not concern anti-competitive practices and abuse of dominance by the Opposite Party.
  • The Informant pointed out 23 differences between the products of the Opposite Party and the Informant, and submitted that there is neither any patent violation nor any theft of information by the Informant. Hence, the litigations instituted by the Opposite Party are frivolous and with mala fide intention to restrict competition by ousting the Informant from the business.
  • KPMG Report, submitted by the Opposite Party, cannot be relied upon as the original hard disc of the computer used by Mr. Panna Lal Biswas was damaged and the report is based on the examination of the imaged hard disc.

Contentions of the Opposite Party

  • The Commission does not have jurisdiction in the present matter in view of the pendency of the patent infringement suit before the Court of the City Civil and Sessions Judge, Bengaluru.
  • The Informant has misled the Commission by conflating two different relevant markets i.e. low voltage and high voltage, to present a distorted view of Opposite Party's market position. The delineation of the relevant market to only IGBT technology is incorrect as IGBT is one type of interchangeable technology on the basis of which power capacitors operate.
  • As per the figures from Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturer's Association (IEEMA), in terms of Mega Volts Amps Reactive (Hereinafter referred as MVAR) total 'low voltage power capacitor' manufactured in 2015 was 28708 MVAR, out of which the Opposite Party manufactured only 900 MVARs. Accordingly, its market share is only 3.13% in the market of low voltage power capacitors. In context of the wider relevant market i.e. power capacitors of both high and low voltage power capacitors, 48292 MVARs were manufactured during 2015, out of which, the Opposite Party manufactured roughly 9400 MVARs which translates to 19.4% market share. Hence, the Opposite Party is not the dominant player in the relevant market as it faces competition from four other major manufacturers.
  • The letter, submitted by the Informant, is a precautionary step taken by the Opposite Party, as they heavily invested in the creation and protection of its valid intellectual property and such letter is not in any manner indicative of its participation in any anti-competitive or abusive conduct.
  • Three ex-employees of the Opposite Party have stolen confidential information relating to innovation and development of their product and the same information and technology has been used by the Informant for developing IPC 150 SCOM. To support his contention, Opposite Party has referred the forensic audit report of the hard disc and computer data of Mr. Panna Lal Biswas, prepared by KPMG.

Observations of the Commission

  • It is observed that the Commission is the appropriate forum to consider matters concerning anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position; and mere pendency of a patent infringement suit before a civil court does not exclude the jurisdiction of the Commission in the said matters if the Informant is able to make out a prima facie case for contravention of Section 3 or Section 4 of the Act.
  • The relevant product market has to be defined keeping in view the competition that prevails among substitutable products available in the market.

    The Commission agrees with the Informant and delineates the relevant product market in the present case as, the market for "Manufacture and Sale of Power Quality Compensators with IGBT technology for low voltage i.e. below 1000V".
  • The figures submitted by the Opposite Party are related to production of capacitors, which is not the relevant product in the instant case. Although exact data pertaining to the relevant market has not been filed by either parties as they are not readily available in the public domain. Thus, based on the information available on record, prima facie, the Opposite Party is found to be dominant in the relevant market.
  • The steps taken by the Opposite Party, during the pendency of the patent applications and patent infringement litigations, to dissuade its suppliers and customers from dealing with the Informant appear to be anti-competitive in nature.
  • The Opposite Party attempted to set a mechanism whereby it gets intimation if any of its competitor approaches its customers.
  • The Opposite Party through its abusive conduct has attempted to limit supply and scientific development in the market and denied market access to the Informant.


Under the provisions of Section 26(1) of the Act, the Commission directed the DG to cause an investigation into the matter and to complete the investigation within a period of 60 days from date of receipt of this order. During the Course of investigation, if involvement of any other party is found, the DG shall investigate the conduct of such other parties who may have indulged in the said contravention.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.